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What is the reason that Autobiographer badge is kept in Stack Exchange?

This does not show any participation and people can just fill garbage to achieve this badge.

Is there a reason behind it?

  • "most people don't have a website"? These days almost everyone (and their dog) has some form of FaceSpace+ profile or other. (And hint: everyone with a Stack Exchange account has both a user page on that very site and a Stack Exchange account page.) – Mat Aug 31 '13 at 14:01
  • I understand website as a domain registered by you. So I wrote it. But is there any reason to keep it mandatory? – Narendra Pathai Aug 31 '13 at 14:03
  • No, it's just a place to put a link to your web "home". Why would you have to own the domain or the site itself? – Mat Aug 31 '13 at 14:04
  • Yes I too have my profile URL as the website. But I was curious about the reason behind it – Narendra Pathai Aug 31 '13 at 14:06
  • Maybe I'm missing something but I don't really understand your question. That badge is for filling all the information in your profile page. Why would some fields be excluded? – Mat Aug 31 '13 at 14:12
  • My concern was just that people can fill in any link to get an extra badge. – Narendra Pathai Aug 31 '13 at 14:14
  • What prevents them from putting nonsense in all the other fields as well? – Mat Aug 31 '13 at 14:14
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    Yes true :) Why keep such badge in the first place? I wonder. – Narendra Pathai Aug 31 '13 at 14:15
  • @NarendraPathai some badges teach users about the existence of the sites features. By offering a badge for completing your profile, you are encouraging new users to (1) learn that the profile page exists and (2) know what info you can put there. – psubsee2003 Aug 31 '13 at 16:27
  • People who put garbage in their profiles to acquire points are clearly not well-aligned with StackOverflow's goals. I therefore recommend we keep the badge so we can continue to easily recognise those for whom acquiring a badge is a primary motivation for participation. – holdenweb Jun 5 '16 at 12:58
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Yes, there is. The reason is explained on the Badges page.

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The idea behind bronze badges is to encourage users to try out the different features of the platform and generally explore the site. They are intentionally easy to earn, and therefore having the side-effect that they are easy to game.

In the case of Autobiographer, the point of the badge is for users to see all the fields available on their profile and fill them up. So, even if it is getting gamed, the badge is serving its purpose of creating awareness of the existence of those fields/profile.

  • I disagree as they don't have to pay attention to what fields actually are and most people won't remember it once they have filled it and have got the badge. – Narendra Pathai Aug 31 '13 at 14:52
  • @NarendraPathai they don't have to pay attention to what fields actually are The fields aren't really that complicated, even glancing at them makes their purpose pretty clear. most people won't remember it once they have filled it and have got the badge. Most people dont need to. – asheeshr Aug 31 '13 at 14:57
  • Firstly I would like to make clear that I am not arguing, this is just a general wondering as to why we need this badge. Other badges on SE sites do make sense to me. But not this one. – Narendra Pathai Aug 31 '13 at 14:58
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    @NarendraPathai Some people have a hard time finding the edit button on their profile pages. Others have confusions about formatting, what to fill, what works and what doesnt. Have a look at old meta posts, you will find quite a few of these. The badge just tries to ensure that these issues get solved early on when a user starts participating, in a way, as people try to earn all the bronze badges in the beginning. – asheeshr Aug 31 '13 at 15:01
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All of the badges exist to encourage behaviours that the site owners and community think are good ones. The idea is that you do something once for the badge, which motivates you to learn how to do it, and then since you're basically a good person, once you know how to do it you will continue to do so.

All of the badges suffer to some extent from the possibility of gaming. People will go into a review queue and hit Approve without reading, just to get Custodian. Or do that 1000 times just to get Steward. There is no need to get the "people are doing this just for the badge" number to zero. Instead, you want to get the damage caused by lazy people gaming the badge below the benefit caused by good people starting to do the right thing.

Robo reviewing causes damage. Posting a stupid question just to get 3 downvotes and delete it for Peer Pressure causes damage. What damage is caused by someone's profile being full of wghjmngsf entries? Really, none. And most people are decent and well meaning, so they will fill it in properly. But if they don't, who does it harm?

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I would guess that the badge is simply used to encourage users to share some information about themselves.

Granted it isn't strictly necessary in any real sense, but personally I get a kick out of helping someone and then looking at their profile to find that they're on the other side of the world, or seeing a great answer and checking the profile of the author and finding that it was written by a kid, it gives me hope for humanity.

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